Art Gallery Presents ‘Consistency of the Temporal’ Until Oct. 10

A gallery patron admires a sculpture.

 The Art Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University hosted New York-based artist Beatrice Modisett on Sept. 5, who spoke on her current exhibition titled “Consistency of the Temporal.” The exhibition runs until Oct.10 and features drawings, paintings and clay sculptures that are inspired by Modisett’s interest in landscapes and environment.

Artist Beatrice Modisett explains her work at the “Consistency of the Temporal” opening reception.

After leaving her office job to pursue art, Modisett spent a month driving to California, visiting national parks along the way. She was struck by the land formations and intrigued by the earthly forces that configured the environment. Modisett felt a deep connection to the national parks and how their vastness made her feel small. She also mentioned how the environment is manipulated by wind, water and erosion: “… the forces are shaping it. Erosion leads to creation.”

Growing up in New England, Modisett has a deep connection to Eastern, as her grandparents were students in 1938 and lived on a farm 10 minutes from the university. She used wood from the farm as fuel to fire the ceramics that are on display in “Consistency of the Temporal.” Among the pieces is an arched clay sculpture inspired by Arches National Park in Utah, as well as the arches of Brescia, Italy, a city that was built upon its own ruins. In her drawings, she used ash from the burnt clay to add shades of gray.

Students discuss Modisett’s drawings.

Speaking to the exhibition at Eastern and her future plans, Modisett said, “This show has launched more ideas. It’s such a gift when that happens, when you can work and it expands things for you.”

“Consistency of the Temporal” is on display until Oct.10 in the Art Gallery of the Fine Arts Instructional Center. Gallery hours are Tuesday and Wednesday 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday 1-7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 2-5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, contact the Art Gallery at 860-465-4659 or visit the website at http://www.easternct.edu/artgallery/.

Written by Bobbi Brown

Eastern a Top 25 Public Regional University in U.S. News and World Report

The class of 2023 gathered for a group photo during the Fall 2019 Warrior Welcome weekend–Eastern draws students from 160 of Connecticut’s 169 towns

 Eastern Connecticut State University is again the highest ranked institution among Connecticut’s four state universities in this year’s U.S. News and World Report’s edition of “Best Colleges.” The 2020 rankings were released on Sept. 9.

This is Eastern’s highest ranking ever as it was ranked 21st among public universities in the North Region. Eastern moved up five spots among public institutions over last year’s rankings and moved up 13 spots when both public and private institutions were considered.

Under the mentorship of Biology Professor Vijaykumar Veerappan, Roshani Budhathoki ’19 was selected for an undergraduate fellowship by the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB).

.The North Region includes colleges and universities from New England, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, and is known as the most competitive among the four regions that make up the U.S. News and World Report ranking system.

Regional universities such as Eastern are ranked based on 15 criteria that include peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, class size, faculty resources, admissions selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.

“Given the uncertain times facing the higher education community, I am delighted to see Eastern achieving its highest ranking ever,” said Eastern President Elsa Nunez. “This is a testament to our commitment to high standards and the faculty and staff’s focus on providing students with personal attention. Our improved ranking this year is due to our rising graduation and retention rates as well as the continued quality of our incoming classes.

 Environmental earth science students traveled to the mountains of Wyoming and Idaho this summer for a geology field course led by Eastern faculty.:

“Students and their families turn to the Best Colleges rankings to help decide where to attend college. These newest rankings reaffirm that Eastern is providing a relevant and high-quality education on our beautiful residential campus.”

This year’s U.S. News and World Report rankings included reviews of upwards of 1,400 schools nationwide and are available at www.usnews.com/colleges. They will also be published in the Best Colleges 2020 Guidebook, published by U.S. News & World Report and available on newsstands on Oct. 15.

For the past 35 years, the U.S. News and World Report rankings, which group colleges based on categories created by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, have grown to be the most comprehensive research tool for students and parents considering higher education opportunities.

Written by Ed Osborn

Eastern Art Gallery to Present Beatrice Modisett’s ‘Consistency of the Temporal’

The Art Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University will present “Consistency of the Temporal” from Aug. 27-Oct. 10 in the Fine Arts Instructional Center. The exhibition features local mixed-media artist Beatrice Modisett. The opening reception will occur on Sept. 5 from 4-6 p.m. Modisett will give a talk prior to the reception from 3-4 p.m. in the Art Gallery.

Modisett’s works are inspired by geological formations, personal histories and the systems that humans create in an attempt to navigate and control the landscape. Erosion as a means of creation is another theme of her art.

Modisett’s most recent work is inspired by her recent immersion in Brescia, Italy, a city that was built on the foundations of its own ruins. She has also pulled inspirations from her late grandparents’ farm and home in eastern Connecticut. Her paintings, works on paper and pit-fired ceramics weave together her geological and auto-biographical histories.

Residents of Brescia often unearth subterranean artifacts and objects the city’s past. In her exhibition at Eastern, Modisett presents objects that she has extracted from the earth, in a gesture of homage to her own heritage. The large-scale paintings in the exhibition were formed through the accrual and erosion of layers of thinned oil paint. The ceramic and mixed-media sculptures present as objects that could have been pulled from the geological events that the paintings depict, and serve as windows through which to view those events.

The Art Gallery is located in room 112 of the Fine Arts Instructional Center on Eastern’s campus. Gallery hours are Tuesday and Wednesday 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday 1-7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 2-5 p.m. Parking is available in Cervantes Garage and in the Student Center parking lot. For more information, call (860) 465-4659 or visit http://www.easternct.edu/artgallery.

Written by Vania Galicia

Eastern Alumna Salutes Inclusive Excellence Award Winners

On May 9, Eastern recognized more than 100 students with a 3.5 cumulative grade point average or higher, and an additional 11 students who have demonstrated exemplary co-curricular engagement at the University’s Seventh Annual Inclusive Excellence Student Awards Ceremony. The ceremony recognized the achievements of African, Latino, Asian and Native American (ALANA) students at Eastern.

Eastern President Elsa Núñez said the ceremony was not just about inclusion, but also spoke to the University’s other core values of academic excellence, integrity, social responsibility, engagement and empowerment. “It is important for each of you to stand tall and be proud of who you are and what you are capable of. Never, ever, ever let anyone attempt to diminish your worth or your talents.

“Today’s honorees join thousands of other successful Eastern alumni who are making their own personal contributions out in the real world, including our guest speaker today, Dr. Kawami Evans. Today, we show respect and celebrate the accomplishments of students who too often have been forgotten in the past.  Thank you for being part of this celebration; to our honorees, congratulations.  We are very proud of you.”

Keynote speaker Evans ’97 serves as associate director at the Center for African Diaspora Student Success at the University of California at Davis. She earned her bachelor’s degree in history and social science at Eastern, her Master of Education in educational policy and research administration from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a doctorate in educational management and leadership from Drexel University.

Evans encouraged the students to use their curiosity and optimism to persevere through unseen psychological struggles that can become their staunchest challenges. She said many high- achieving students fall prey to chasing individual achievements, accolades or material gain as their goal, even confusing their self-worth with what they can accomplish.

“This is dangerous; it can lead to anxiety and depression. Don’t let this be your reality or focus,” said Evans. “Who you are is what we are celebrating today. All the earned accolades you are receiving are but a byproduct of the brilliance within you . . . You are the promise of our ancestors’ prayers and walk with the wisdom and swag of those who have grit, resilience, the social and emotional intelligence, curiosity and hope.”

Evans told the students the most important element they need to resurrect in discussing their future success is their spirituality, ways in which students discover their destiny — answers to the big questions of who they are, what is their life purpose and how do they make difference in the world.

“Much of the world right now is relegated to systems and polices. We have to raise the bar with our vision of what’s possible,” Evans said. “It will take hard work, community, love, bravery, unrelentless effort and celebration.  I sincerely believe that we can create a world that works for all.”

A total of 280 students qualified for an Academic Excellence Award with a 3.5 cumulative GPA or higher, and more than 100 of them were able to attend the May 9 event. During the ceremony, several students received service awards. Adrianna Arocho and Mayra Santos Acosta was presented the Volunteer Service Award; Aiyana Ward, the Athletic Excellence Award; Kimberly Allen and Sommer Bachelor, the Career Development Award; Jenilee Antonetty, the Resident Assistant Diversity Impact Award; Rafael Aragon, the Residential Community Leadership Award; Tristan Perez, the Social Justice Advocacy Award; Emma Costa, the Inspirational Leadership Award; Ishah Azeez, the Resilient Warrior Award; Kimberly Allen and Vishal Jungiwalla, the Advisor’s Choice Award; and the Freedom at Eastern Club, the Building Bridges Award.

By Dwight Bachman

‘A Narrative of Printmaking’ on Display in Eastern’s Art Gallery

The artists and curator (red chairs) discuss the exhibition during the March 28 opening reception.

The Art Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University hosted a reception and artist talk for its current exhibition, “Between Spaces: A Narrative of Printmaking,” on March 28. The collection is curated by Simonette Quamina, assistant professor of printmaking, and remains open until April 25. Artists Taro Takizawa, David Curcio, Carrie Scanga and Cornelia Mcsheehy are featured in the exhibition.

“Et Capitibus Volvent” (2018) by Cornelia McSheeshy–lithography, rubber stamp, raffia, wire Asian papers, ink, mud puddle wash.

“Between Spaces” focuses on the representation or exploration of space through the medium of printmaking. The show includes contemporary prints as well as 3D works constructed of prints, books, installations and other forms of printmaking that take the print off the wall and bring it into the space of the gallery.

While selecting installations for the exhibition, Quamina specifically chose pieces that would create a narrative around the institution of printmaking itself, as well as show the different mediums and styles of printmaking.

At the reception, all four artists discussed their creative processes and inspirations, as well as their background with printmaking and other artistic mediums. Students and those who attended were able to ask the panel questions regarding their evolution as artists.

“I love the process of printmaking,” said McSheehy, a professor of printmaking at the Rhode Island School of Design. “There’s a sculptural element to it, almost a hybridity. I like fooling around with space in galleries, and I like pieces that jump at you from off the wall.”

“I really like the contrast between solid and delicate,” said Scanga, a multidisciplinary artist from Bowdoin College in Maine. “I like taking solid, steadfast objects and making them temporary and fragile.”

Scanga’s interest in the contrast of fragility inspired her to create a series of pieces created by wrapping printed tracing paper around a brick, which is later removed. These ghostly bricks are then stacked to create an architectural installation in galleries.

“Hostess Club” and “Glassy Day” (2016) by David Curcio–woodcut.

Takizawa, a recent graduate of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University, also takes inspiration from contrast, although his focus turns toward patterns, color and time periods. He is best known for his large-scale vinyl installation works, which can often be seen on the glass walls of cafés or storefronts, as well as in galleries.

“Ballast” (2012-14) by Carrie Scanga–tracing paper with intaglio printing.

“I draw a lot of influence from Japan, which has a fairly pure culture and artistic tradition,” Takizawa said. “I try to make old patterns my own, like things from architecture, textile or armor design. I like to reinvent ancient patterns into something modern.”

Curcio, who has an MFA in printmaking from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, specializes in woodcuts, which is the oldest printmaking technique. His inspiration comes spontaneously to him, and he is often influenced by the media he consumes.

“When I started getting into woodcuts, I was watching a lot of Japanese gangster films,” Curcio explained. “If I had been watching Irish mafia movies, I’m sure they would have been different, but I’m glad they turned out this way. Film noir is a big influence of mine, I love it.”

Several of the artists discussed their reasons for creating prints, as well as their motivations behind being an artist. “There’s a fine line you have to walk between making art for yourself and making art to send a message,” Scanga concluded. “It’s always going to be a little bit of both, at least for me – because art is so personal, it’s also political, and vice versa.”

Eastern’s Art Gallery hours are Tuesday and Wednesday 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday 1-7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 2-5 p.m. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.easternct.edu/artgallery or call (860) 465-4659.

Written by Raven Dillon

Eastern Art Gallery to Feature ‘A Narrative of Printmaking’

WILLIMANTIC, CT (03/21/2019) Eastern Connecticut State University will showcase an exhibit titled “Between Spaces: A Narrative of Printmaking” from March 23-April 25 in the Art Gallery of the Fine Arts Instructional Center. The opening reception will occur on March 28 from 4-6 p.m. A talk featuring all four artists will precede the reception from 3-3:45 p.m. in the Art Gallery.

The collection is curated by Simonette Quamina, an assistant professor of printmaking at Eastern. Four artists are featured in the exhibition, including Taro Takizawa, David Curcio, Carrie Scanga and Cornelia Mcsheehy. The exhibition focuses on the representation or exploration of space through the medium of printmaking. The show will include contemporary prints as well as 3D works constructed of prints, books, installations and other forms of printmaking that take the print off the wall and into the space of the gallery.

Takizawa is a visual artist who recently graduated from the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University. He focuses on printmaking, vinyl installations, painting, drawing and ceramics.

Curcio has a MFA in printmaking from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. He specializes in printmaking, woodcuts, drawing and embroidery. Curcio’s work often features animals or portraits, taking inspiration from the symmetry of nature and the beauty of the human form.

Scanga is a multidisciplinary artist from the University of Washington who focuses on printmaking and installations. She takes inspiration from personal mythologies, ecology, architecture and design. Scanga teaches at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME.

McSheehy is a professor of printmaking at the Rhode Island School of Design and her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in both group and solo exhibitions since 1969. She earned her master’s degree in printmaking from the State University of New York at Albany.

Eastern’s Art Gallery hours are Tuesday and Wednesday 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday 1-7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 2-5 p.m. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.easternct.edu/artgallery or call (860) 465-4659.

Written by Raven Dillon

Artist Explains ‘Sacred Geometry,’ on Display Until March 7

Reni Gower explains the concepts behind her artwork during her visit to Eastern.

Mixed-media artist Reni Gower recently visited Eastern Connecticut State University to kick off the opening of her exhibition, “Sacred Geometry: The Perfect Proof.” The exhibition is on display in the Art Gallery from Feb. 1 to March 7, located in room 112 in the Fine Arts Instructional Center.

“Sacred Geometry” consists of large singular “papercuts,” which are complex patterns inspired by Celtic knotwork and Islamic ornamental tiles that are hand cut from single sheets of paper. Gower was inspired by sacred geometry, a concept from ancient times that derives meaning from perfect shapes such as circles, squares and triangles. At her lecture, Gower discussed her development as an artist and how her fascination with patterns and geometry has continually inspired her work since she was a student.

Papercuts: Burdock (2018) and Quatrefoil (2018). Acrylic on hand-cut paper

“Geometry exists as an intrinsic belief in the natural world,” said Gower. “Humans love to find patterns in everything, and there are plenty of them in nature. Time, culture and religion come together in this concept of observing and creating perfect geometric shapes.”

Gower’s artistic evolution began with her mixed-media work. She used recycled materials such as canvas, cheesecloth, plastic, aluminum screens or rug-hold, and cut them into strips to be layered onto a frame. After arranging these materials, she then painted her unusual canvas with acrylic in varying designs. This highly-contrasting work led to Gower’s experimentation with acrylic and canvas with more conventional methods, but her interest in mixed-media never wavered.

“I have always been interested in recycled materials being used in art,” Gower said. “A common theme in all of my work is materials adding up to more than the sum of their parts.”

Her interest in geometry led her to explore the ancient art of papercutting. These pieces are painstakingly designed and cut from a single piece of paper. Some of Gower’s works are over six feet in length. The process is laborious but meditative, allowing Gower to reflect on the nature of geometric designs.

“Sacred Geometry: The Perfect Proof” features these intricate works of art and Gower hopes the universal language of sacred geometry will connect Western and Middle Eastern artistic legacies with hope and optimism.

Eastern’s Art Gallery hours are Tuesday and Wednesday 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday 1-7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 2-5 p.m. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.easternct.edu/artgallery or call (860) 465-4659.

Written by Raven Dillon

‘Sacred Geometry’ to Open Eastern Art Gallery

The Art Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University will open its first exhibition of the spring 2019 semester from Feb. 1-March 7. “Sacred Geometry: The Perfect Proof” features the work of mixed-media artist Reni Gower. A talk with the artist will occur on Feb. 12 from 3-3:45 p.m., followed by an opening reception from 4-6 p.m. The gallery is located in room 112 of the Fine Arts Instructional Center. Admission is free.

“Sacred Geometry” consists of large singular “papercuts,” which are complex patterns inspired by Celtic knotwork and Islamic ornamental tiles, and are hand cut from single sheets of paper. Gower was inspired by sacred geometry, a concept from ancient times that derives meaning from perfect shapes such as circles, squares and triangles. In her work, Gower hopes to use the universal language of sacred geometry to connect Western and Middle Eastern artistic   legacies with hope and optimism.

Gower’s work has beeen featured in venues across the United States, as well as internationally, in such countries as Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Italy, Peru, Korea, Israel, England and Russia. She’s received numerous grants and awards, including the Southeastern College Art Conference Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement in 2017.

Eastern’s Art Gallery hours are Tuesday and Wednesday 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday 1-7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 2-5 p.m. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.easternct.edu/artgallery or call (860) 465-4659.

Written by Raven Dillon

Eastern Art Students to Present ‘Society’s Ultimate Playlist’

WILLIMANTIC, CT (11/14/2018) The Art and Art History Department at Eastern Connecticut State University will host an exhibition titled “Society’s Ultimate Playlist” from Nov. 28 to Dec. 12 in the Student Gallery of Eastern’s Wood Support Services Center. The opening reception will occur Dec. 5 from 5-7 p.m.

Curated by students in Professor Gail Gelburd’s Museums and Exhibitions course, the exhibition explores a brief timeline of three historic events in 20th-century American history: the Harlem Renaissance, Vietnam War and 9/11. The show highlights the use of music and art as a response to these conflicts.

The exhibition takes the viewer through a variety of iconic works that echo the political conflicts of the time. The show analyzes the works of 20th-century African-American artist Romare Bearden, who was influenced by the jazz music of the Harlem Renaisance. Vietnam memorabilia shows the public controversy of the war, which was expressed through rock ‘n’ roll music. Finally, artist David Wagner’s chaotic imagery of the collapsing Twin Towers illustrates the fear and madness of the aftermath; an event that resulted in a rise in patriotism, which is often expressed through country music.

Eastern Connecticut State University is the state of Connecticut’s public liberal arts university, serving more than 5,300 students annually at its Willimantic campus and satellite locations. In addition to attracting students from 163 of Connecticut’s 169 towns, Eastern also draws students from 26 other states and 20 other countries. A residential campus offering 40 majors and 65 minors, Eastern offers students a strong liberal art foundation grounded in an array of applied learning opportunities. Ranked the 25th top public university in the North Region by U.S. News and World Report in its 2018 Best College ratings, Eastern has also been awarded ‘Green Campus’ status by the Princeton Review eight years in a row. For more information, visit www.easternct.edu.

It is the policy of Eastern Connecticut State University to ensure equal access to its events. If you are an individual with a disability and will need accommodations for this event, please contact the Office of University Relations at (860) 465-5735.

Digital Art Exhibition at Eastern Begs for Human Interaction

In Balam Soto’s piece “Interface,” projections shift on the wall according to surfaces touched by visitors.

Written by Raven Dillon

WILLIMANTIC, CT (11/06/2018) The work of Hartford-based digital artist Balam Soto is on display at the Eastern Connecticut State University Art Gallery from Nov. 1-Dec. 7 in an exhibition titled “Interface.” Blurring the line between spectator and participant, the exhibition allows gallery visitors to manipulate the digital artwork by physically interacting with its tactile components.

“I have always been inspired by technology,” said Soto at the Nov. 1 opening reception. “Technology is an ocean, large enough to swim in, and it can transform the way people look at the world, or look at art.”

Eastern students interact with “Interface.”

Pieces in the gallery incorporate tactile surfaces that, when touched, cause fluctuations in sound and light projection, literally putting the experience of the art into gallery visitors’ hands. With the press of a button, sounds change and projections morph as the artwork endlessly transforms.

Soto handles both the creative and technical sides of his art. He melds low tech with high tech and employs the use of custom software and electronics. “When people go to galleries or museums, there is a glass wall between them and the exhibition,” said Soto as he watched students

A hand affects sound and light with the piece “Sonic Moon.”

interact with his artwork. “I want to remove that barrier.”

At first, visitors were hesitant to touch any of the installations – seemingly content to view from a distance the beautiful abstract projections on the walls. The energy within the gallery quickly changed, however, once patrons realized they could interact with the pieces.

Within 20 minutes, the “glass wall” had been shattered and the gallery was filled with fluidly shifting projections and echoing musical harmonies. The visitors became an integral part of the display. Most pieces in the exhibition allow for human interaction, thus altering the experience.

Kristen Morgan, director of new media studies and associate professor of theatre, enjoys Interface exhibition, holding one Godeon while the older son, Judevine, takes a break to “interface” with his Rubics Cube! BTW, Judevine is also the name of a play written by the late poet, David Budbill, a dear family friend from Vermont.

Soto is an internationally successful artist, with gallery exhibitions and art pieces around the world. He has received six Editor’s Choice awards and one Best in Class award from the World Maker Faire, held in the New York Hall of Science Museum.

He has also received official citations from the Mayor of Hartford, and the governors of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. In April 2008, Soto was honored with a Diploma of Recognition as a “Maestro,” a Master of Visual Arts, by the National Congress of Guatemala for “being a valuable and outstanding artist with international success.”

New media “Interface” artist Balam Soto chats with Retired Mathematics Professor Emeritus Stephen Kenton during the reception for the exhibition.

Eastern’s Art Gallery is located in Room 112 of the Fine Arts Instructional Center on the Eastern campus. Parking is available in Cervantes Garage and in the Student Center parking lot. The gallery is free and open to the public on Tuesday and Wednesday 11 to 5 p.m., Thursday 1 to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 2 to 5 p.m. For more information, call the gallery at (860) 465-4659 or visit www.easternct.edu/artgallery/.